Navigating D.C. Public Transportation

Navigating D.C. Public Transportation

Being from Southern California, I am not at all accustomed to public transportation, and this week turned out to be a hectic one for the D.C. Metro system.


On Monday, there was an electrical fire at the McPherson Square station, leading the Metro board to shut down Metro operations on Wednesday in order to conduct inspections of the electric cables. So, D.C.'s main mode of transportation - the second busiest subway system in the country - was not running for an entire day. It was chaos.


Everyone found out about the Metro shutting down on Tuesday afternoon, and it was all over the news. It was an extreme inconvenience all around because many residents of D.C. don't own cars. Okay, so you can ride the bus, take Uber/Lyft/taxis or walk, right? NOPE.


  • The Metro buses will be packed, because that's everyone's second choice after the Metro.
  • For Uber/Lyft/taxis, the surcharge will be outstanding and/or drivers will be limited.
  • If you live close enough to your office you can certainly walk, but most people commute into the city from a distance, commute out (like me) or the walk is miles long.
  • The last resort is to hitch a ride with someone who has a car.

So, because I work in Alexandria, I had the day off! It would take hours to walk from the RAF, and Ubers were projected to cost about $200 one way to Alexandria. It was almost comical, but it's like we had a snow day without snow.


This is almost dumbfounding to me, coming from a city that has the worst attempt at public transportation in the country... if you could even call it an attempt. For this reason, Californians and especially Los Angelenos are used to driving everywhere all the time. Sure, there can be issues with the 101 or 405 freeways and you'll hit major traffic, but there's always another route to take and with traffic, what else is new?


In January when I arrived here in D.C. and used the Metro for the first time, I was totally confused. When you're first becoming acquainted, it's a daunting experience. Surprisingly, you will find that you get the hang of it very quickly even if you've never experienced a subway system before, though it helps to have someone with you to also look lost. Remember: Download the DC Metro app!


As a girl who likes to drive and basically lives in her car, I do like the ease of using the Metro in the sense that you don't have to deal with traffic, find parking and pay for gas and insurance. However, there are several things I do NOT like about using public transportation:


  • Operating on the Metro's schedule rather than my own
  • Having my personal space violated every day on a crammed Metro (especially on the red line)
  • People thinking it's okay to play their music without headphones
  • Crazy people yelling
  • People who disregard the fact that my bag occupies the seat next to me for a reason

As you can see, the non-stop interaction with other humans is my main grievance. In LA, I might be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for 2 hours but hey, I'm by myself - or with people I actually like - in my own space with my own music.

The schedule comes in close second to my issue with people. When a train is delayed, Katie is delayed. When Katie is delayed, Katie is irked.

Maybe the train isn't even delayed, but there are so many PEOPLE on the train that you won't possibly get on and have to wait 9 minutes for the next one. Okay, maybe more like 2-4 minutes, but still.

Ultimately, the Metro has its up and downs, but in the end I am grateful for it because it is cost-efficient and requires little effort once you learn your way around. And if it shuts down, it might give you a nice day off!

Katie's Corner

It's that time of the week again! Last Friday, I finally went to a restaurant that I had tried to go to at the beginning of the semester and the wait was four hours long. Four hours! I had never heard of a wait that long before, but if the wait is that long, the food has to be superb.

This very popular restaurant is Daikaya. It's a tiny ramen shop with two communal tables and two booths in Chinatown. This explains the 4-hour wait. Unfortunately they do not take reservations, but last Friday, the wait was a tolerable hour and fifteen minutes. This is what I ordered:


I ordered the Shio ramen. The first one listed on the menu, and the most classic. It was definitely tastier than Top Ramen, and probably better for you, too. Daikaya will be a go-to for me on rainy days when I want something hot.

That's all I have for you this week, folks. Tomorrow, TWC will be graced with the presence of Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State who worked under the Clinton Administration. She's kind of a big deal, so I'm really looking forward to attending and telling you guys all about it!

Until next week.

- K


Read Katie's previous blog posts here

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